It’s hard to believe that this is real, but there is a little family-owned bookstore in the Latin Quarter in Paris, across from Notre Dame, where you can sleep overnight for free. Shakespeare and Company has 13 beds that are open to guests on a first-come, first-served basis. In exchange for your stay, you have to work a couple of hours per day in the shop and write a one-page biography.
The hotel-within-a-bookstore was started by a man named George Whitman over fifty years ago. He describes his creation as “a socialist utopia masquerading as a bookstore,” and estimates that over fifty thousand people have slept there since he first opened his doors.
George calls his guests “Tumbleweeds.” Most Tumbleweeds stay for a week to a month, but there was one who lived in the shop for seven years!
Wow. This is so fascinating to me!
Would you be a Tumbleweed and stay for a night (or several) in this space? I’m not sure if I could. I know, I know – I slept in a tent in my backyard for six weeks – but this has a different feel to it somehow. What do you think?